February 26, 2013

Location-based services are coming of age (and it’s way more than Foursquare)

3 iphone-screenshots
From left, screenshots of the new app Now, EyeEm and Gogobot.

Geolocation apps start to splinter into verticals

This is the second in an ongoing series on the state of geolocation apps, sites and services. Also see:
• Part 1: Are you ready for the place graph?

Target audience: Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses with location-based components, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaIn part one of this series we looked back at the early days of geolocation, with Platial kicking off the geoloco revolution in the practically prehistoric year of 2005. Since then, a number of paradigm-shifting startups have already come, gone or been sold, among them fwix, Loopt, Ditto, Blockboard, Everyblock (shut down this month) and the late lamented NextStop and Whrrl.

geologo-logoOn Sunday Josh Williams, former founder-CEO of Gowalla and now a product manager at Facebook, penned a great writeup on the early years of the Foursquare-Gowalla death match, spanning 2009-2010, before Foursquare emerged as the King of Check-In Mountain.

Now that the table has been set, what’s next for geolocation? Is it all about Foursquare, Yelp, yawn and go home?

I don’t think so. Instead, we’re seeing geolocation begin to splinter into niches and verticals. And, within a couple of years, geolocation capabilities will simply be baked into our everyday on-the-go lives.

From Silicon Valley and elsewhere, startups have emerged with powerful, useful geolocation capabilities central to their business model. As someone who’s as much an entrepreneur as a social strategist, I’m about to cast off into these choppy waters myself with a startup called Placely. (Come add your email addy to be notified when we’re ready to roll!)

Flavors of location: Travel, recommendations, geo-social & more

We’re still in the expansion, experimentation and buyout phase — before the inevitable contraction, consolidation and hand-wringing phase sets in

In surveying the competitive landscape, I’ve been struck by how diverse the geo landscape has become. We’re still in the expansion, experimentation and buyout phase — before the inevitable contraction, consolidation and hand-wringing phase sets in. Every week, it seems, I hear about a new startup doing something interesting with geolocation. (I still wish Gowalla had pivoted instead of selling to Facebook.)

Navigation apps like Waze and mapping sites (Google, Apple, Mapquest, Bing Maps) are all about location, but they’re too obvious to include here.

So what are the new breed of startups using location information in interesting new ways? Continue reading

September 28, 2010

Highlights of TechCrunch Disrupt day one

Voice-based search, cloud-based services & much more

Jessica ValenzuelaIalmost didn’t make it to my first TechCrunch Disrupt because of client work, but I managed to make the trek in, all revved for disruption!

Battlefield Session 1 Disruptors

The complete list of all Tech Crunch Disrupt presenters showed a wide range of start-ups and business models. A few that stood out in my opinion:

@Qwiki presented as a voice information experience platform. The use case scenario that the founders presented looked too futuristic, yet intriguing. I think it is just a matter of time before we will be switching to voice-based search with images to match.

@Storify, a social media flipboard that allows bloggers, journalists and social media enthusiasts to share stories, was another popular disruptor.

I found Cloudflare (@Cloudflare on Twitter) interesting as a service to enhance site performance (“supercharge your website!”)

Meanwhile, Gunzoo, a startup from Japan, presented a new way to search videos. The concept of “fabric video” looked cool, but the presentation content failed to capture and deliver how cool this platform can be.

At the end of Battle Session Day 1 SeqCentral presented a cloud computing based tool that will help DNA scientists collaborate in the cloud.

Judges asked the hard questions on use case scenarios, revenue streams and distribution channels, which not many of the participants were able to clearly respond to or justify. Nerves? Perhaps, but these are three really basic questions that need to be defined when taking an idea into planning and execution to create your startup.

Conference hookups

Glad I came to TechCrunch Disrupt because I would have missed the opportunity to meet Tara Hunt (@missrogue on Twitter), who launched @shwowp here while I lunched along the Start Up Alley hallway. Then a few minutes later Gina Bianchini, the former CEO of Ning, was waiting in line in the WC. In case you don’t know, both Tara and Gina are women who rock the tech world in the Valley and beyond. Continue reading